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Argentina, creditors get ready to resume debt talks after ninth sovereign default

Evan Lewis

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Argentina defaults on bond payments as debt talks heat up

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – A major Argentina creditor group said on Saturday it had been invited to sign a non-disclosure agreement by Argentina’s government, signaling that talks could be moving to the next phase after the South American country defaulted a day earlier.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Argentine one hundred peso bills are displayed in this picture illustration taken September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo

The Exchange Bondholder Group, which comprises 18 investment institutions and represents 15% of Argentina’s exchange bonds, said in a statement that Argentina approached its representatives and other creditor groups about signing a non-disclosure agreement “in contemplation of engaging in negotiations with the Ministry of Economy.”

It is common during debt restructurings for creditor committees to agree to limit the flow of information near the end of talks, as some of it may be material and non-public, a source from another creditor committee said. In some cases when multiple creditor groups are involved, as is the case with Argentina, a non-disclosure agreement is introduced, the source said.

Argentine officials are currently weighing counter-offers from its major creditor groups after their original proposal to restructure about $65 billion in foreign debt was stiffly rejected.

The South American country failed to reach an agreement by a May 22 deadline, prompting it to miss about $500 million in already delayed bond coupons, marking its ninth sovereign default.

At least one main creditor group has signed the non-disclosure agreement, a source from that committee said.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Economy did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Despite missing the deadline on Friday, a source close to the negotiations and familiar with the government’s thinking told Reuters on Friday that talks could reach a breakthrough “in a matter of days.”

Executives from major credit agencies were optimistic Argentina would eventually strike a deal, but warned that the country’s economic woes were far from over.

“Argentina has a history on this issue and many think that it will not be the last,” Gabriel Torres, a Moody’s vice president, said of Argentina’s default while speaking to local station Radio Milenium, adding that the country will eventually “have to pay what it has agreed to.”

Todd Martinez, director of Latin America sovereigns at Fitch Ratings in New York, cautioned that progress could be more challenging the longer the talks drag on.

“Should it be a default without signs of progress toward a resolution, it could heighten uncertainties and have some destabilizing effects, but these could be minimal if recent progress towards a deal continues,” Martinez said.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos and Marc Jones; Editing by Ros Russell and Andrea Ricci

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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General News

Malaysia reports 38 new coronavirus cases, one new death

Evan Lewis

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Malaysia reports 38 new coronavirus cases, one new death

FILE PHOTO: A health worker wearing a protective suit arranges hospital bed at Emergency Department in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 23, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian health officials reported 38 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the cumulative total to 8,304.

The health ministry also reported one new death, raising total fatalities to 117.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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NYPD loses its 6th detective to coronavirus

Evan Lewis

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NYPD loses its 6th detective to coronavirus

The NYPD has lost its sixth detective to the coronavirus pandemic, The Post has learned.

Christopher McDonnell, a 54-year-old first-grade detective in the Intelligence Division, was confirmed Friday as the 44th member of the department, and the sixth detective, to succumb to COVID-19, according to the president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.

McDonnell left behind a wife and 14-year-old son Trevor — both of whom his friend and former partner said the detective adored.

“Not only [was he] one of the finest detectives I’ve ever worked with, but one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met,” Detective Jeffery Ward told The Post.

McDonnell joined the NYPD in 1991 and worked in Staten Island, lower Manhattan and the Narcotic Division, according to the union.

Ward, who worked with McDonnell in the late 1990s through the early 2000s, said McDonnell “definitely earned the distinction of a first-grade detective.

“We call ourselves the greatest detaches in the world, and Christopher truly exemplified that,” he said.

The detective died May 6, but his positive-test result for the virus didn’t come back till  Friday.

DEA President Paul DiGiacomo described McDonnell as a “constant professional” and the union will help his family as if he died on the job.

“This COVID virus is the invisible bullet, and we will treat [it] no different than if he was shot in the line of duty,” DiGiacomo said.

Seven uniformed members of the force, as well as 37 civilian employees of the department, have died from COVID-19, according to the NYPD.

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Iranian wedding party fuelled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Evan Lewis

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Iranian wedding party fuelled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the opening ceremony of Iran’s 11th parliament, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Tehran, Iran, May 27, 2020. Official Presidential website/Handout via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters)- – A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.

Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.

“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.

New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.

Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.

Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.

“In these circumstances, we have no other choice – that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”

Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Koran and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said

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